Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Leszek Mozdzer was born in 1971. While he was working his way up the traditional ladder of a musical education in Poland, he studied Chopin at close hand, the original Chopin, following closely 'the letter and the spirit' of the composer's work. But Mozdzer is also a child of his times, marked by the stars of pop culture - Depeche Mode and Metallica, Sylvester Stallone and Andy Warhol, the Rolling Stones and Vanessa Mae, techno, jazz and finally the tidal wave of information which has characterised the end of the 20th century. Mozdzer has no intention of making a spiritual journey back across the centuries and to pretend that Chopin's world is his world. For Mozdzer, a mazurka, a nocturne or an etude by Chopin are just as much a standard as So What by Miles Davis and Giant Steps by John Coltrane.
BBC Music Magazine
Though unabashedly provocative, this highly inventive recital should win more friends than enemies.
Liner Note Author: Tomasz Szachowski.
Recording information: Temple du bon Secours, Paris, France (1999).
Editor: Laurence Heym.
Recorded in 1999, Leszek Mozdzer's jazz update of the piano music of Frédéric Chopin offers a diverse assortment of styles ranging from highly ornamented and virtuosic takes in the manner of Art Tatum to more avant-garde explorations of raw piano sonorities, mixed up with deconstructed fragments. This is a bold display of the potential classical music holds for jazz, and the versatility jazz can bring to classical. In the liner notes, however, a defensive note is struck, as if after Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Jacques Loussier had firmly established the propinquity of classical and jazz ideas an apology is still necessary for making such arrangements, especially when the works of Chopin are involved. Yet the results of Impressions on Chopin should convince even the most conservative listener of the adaptability of Chopin's piano music to jazz. Certainly, the melodies and rhythms of the mazurkas, etudes, preludes, and nocturnes are all malleable and easy to recast with spicy modern harmonies and brilliant improvisation, and Mozdzer's fluency in jazz permits him to find the right idioms to match Chopin's moods. There are many more hits than misses in this album, and Mozdzer tries out enough stylistic notions to keep the music interesting, even if his plans don't always work. Some may find this album is unfocused, because Mozdzer investigates so many possibilities, and the changes may be so frequent that some will only be able to take it in small doses. But the level of imagination is quite high here, so whether one hears this CD in one sitting or over several, there is something guaranteed to beguile even the squarest Chopin aficionado.~Blair Sanderson
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